Thomas Nast, the "Father of the American Cartoon", was widely recognized as an effective political cartoonist, who was able to engage a vast audience with his boldness and wit. Both Presidents Lincoln and Grant acknowledged his effectiveness as a civic reform crusader supporting their efforts.
In this cartoon, he depicts the continuing anti-black violence undertaken by segments of the Democratic party and former Confederates during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The cartoon speaks to the draft-riot arson of the Colored Orphan Asylum (on the left), a Ku Klux Klan torching of a freedman's school (on the right), and the lynching of black men (hanging on both sides). On the monument centerpiece is inscribed lists of atrocities blacks in America endured from slavery through the present time of the 1868 election. Seated atop the monument is a black man, a Union veteran, who personifies "patience", while his family lies murdered at the base of the monument. Nast's inspiration for this cartoon is Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (Act II, Scene 4): "like Patience on a monument, smiling at Grief."